Has everything already been figured out? Has sailboat designs reached a pinnacle? Is there nothing left to improve? Is there nothing let to learn?
In the great Scilly disaster of 1707, several British naval ships were destroyed and more than 1400 men lost their lives. The reason... they did not know their exact location.
Location is determined by 2 co-ordinates: Longitude and Latitude. Latitude is measured by a series of lines parallel to the Earth's equator. Longitude runs vertically between the North and South poles.
300 Years ago, sailors only knew how to calculate Latitude. They did this by measuring the angle of the sun relative to the horizon and comparing it to their charts, charts which showed the angle of the sun at any point on earth relative to the date. Since the angle changed with the days of the year, one could determine with relative accuracy where they were, latitudinally speaking, on the earth. Basically they knew how far north or south they were depending where the sun was relative to the horizon.
The problem was they did not know how far east or west they were. While sailing, with no other points of reference sailors had no idea how far they had gone. One technique employed was called "Dead Reckoning". Sailors would though out a rope with knots tied at regular intervals. How many knots passed through their hands while an hour glass drained they would determine their speed in "knots". Using regular measurements of their speed they estimated how far they travelled and thus where they were East to West. How accurate was this? Well maybe that's why it was called "DEAD" reckoning.
In a previous post I talked about "The Stoke" ... What does it mean to feel stoked?
The Stoke is a natural high you get when you perform certain wind and water sports. While the stoke has typically been associated with Surfing I have seen a similar effect overcome sailors and kiteboarders. When you do these sports, when you are in harmony with the natural energies of wind and water, you begin to feel this euphoric high. Nothing else compares with it. All natural. Naturally pure. The Hawaiians call it the spirit of "Aloha". In Costa Rica it is called "Pura Vida". Surfers call it "being stoked". I call it being in harmony with the universe and feeding your soul.
Hyrdofoils are another technology that is transforming wind and water sports. Basically the hydro foil acts like an underwater wing to lift the hull or main body of the sailboat, surfboard, kiteboard etc.. out of the water. The foil therefore provides lift as well as lateral resistance similar to a keel or centreboard. But the real benefit is speed.
The Barrel. This is the term given to the inner part of a tube that is formed when a wave breaks. There is something special about this moment in place and time. A harmony. A balance between peace and chaos. At the centre of this vortex you feel at one with all of creation.
For as long as I can remember I've always loved designing things. Whether it was building new spaceships and submarines using Lego or sketching solar cars when I should have been taking notes in class. I've always believed things could be done better. No detail and no nuance was too small. The things I used to imagine while lying in bed at night waiting for sleep to come were how I would design the bridge of the enterprise for optimal efficiency. Does this sound like you?
The whole point of sailing is to go where the wind is. This can be difficult if your sailboat is difficult to move or stuck in one location. But with an inflatable sailboat you can pretty much go anywhere the wind is. So how do you find the wind?
There are lots of resources out there and many I will touch upon in other blog posts but for now I want to share one of my favorite all around free wind finding web sites I use. LocalKiteSpots.com The site is primarily intended for kiteboarding but it can show you where the wind is and great locations you may not have know about where you can setup and launch your inflatable sail boat.
There is site descriptions of each location that talks about everything from the beach conditions to parking and what is down wind of each location. Each site is ranked by its difficulty level which pertains alot to the level of skill required by a Kiteboarder to Launch and Land ... while this is helpful for the inflatable sailor it is really less of a concern than it is for kiteboarders who require very specific conditions to launch their kites in.
As they say 2,000 Spots and 100+ Maps. You can view each spot on the map! The downside is that the web site is really just geared for Ontario. But in the future we will have some resources for our friends outside of Ontario.
But until then, this is one of the best tools for any sailor, wind seeker, kiteboarder, water sports adventurer out there!
Click HERE for the Link to LocalKiteSpots.com
Have you ever wondered about the history of sailing? Sailing dates back thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. We may never know how sailing was developed, but kiteboarding is a different story.
Kiteboarding can be traced back through the ages to the first times people used a kite as a means of propulsion. Sailors had experimented with ways of attaching kites to ships but there was always a fundamental problem, what happens when your kite hits the water? As a young lad I often sat back visualizing methods of relaunching a kite that hit the water. It seems I wasn't alone...